SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Vansittart 39. Watkins 59.]
REDBRIDGE – 3 [Murray 28. Poole 57. Lewis 86.]
Last season, after a reasonable start, we met Redbridge (or Ford as they were known then) at home in a dreadful game. Twice coming from behind we still managed to chuck it and lose 3-2. From then, right up to the middle of October, we were pretty shit.
Well, this year, the match was largely the same and so was the result. Here’s hoping that this is the spur to put our sluggish start behind us & move up the table as opposed to the nosedive down it the result last year seemed to trigger. Still, after Tuesdays hard fought win at Bognor, we’re feeling confident.
JR once again has moved to bolster the squad and has signed our 276th centre-back. The latest addition is John Scarborough, a big bloke from Dover who is apparently very highly rated.
Ooooooh! Maybe this guy will actually get to play!
And indeed he does. JR placing his latest acquisition into the backline with Gonsalves & Booth. Strangely, the manager also elects to break up our promising looking front 2 by dropping Andrew Martin in favour of Joff up front. It’s puzzling, but we can only assume John feels Joffa’s size would be more imposing on what promises to be a typically bulky Essex defence.
Sutton start slowly and after 4 minutes, a corner comes to nothing and the visitors burst forwards in a rapid counterattack. The Redbridge man surges down the left, but despite having support to his right, he delays playing the killer ball and Arkali gets back to pinch the ball from him and clear the danger.
Our new Turkish recruit is soon in action at the opposite end, 8 minutes in and Akumaouah sends him down the left touchline. With the visitors defence stretched, he plays a wicked low ball across the box. But Vansittart sliding in a foot short inside the 6 yard box is the closest anyone comes to converting this inviting opportunity.
Another chance goes begging on the quarter of an hour mark. Scott Corbett threading a nice ball through the defence on the right, sending Joff into space. The ‘keeper comes off his line and the big striker skips past him before sliding the ball goalwards. But a recovering defender skids in on the wet turf and cuts out the effort before it can cross the line.
Redbridge have a couple of pacy attackers and they’re certainly giving our own defence something to think about. Another break-out following a Sutton corner once more catches us a little flat footed. The attack down the left this time results in a ball inside, but Wilson covers his near post well and beats out a powerful effort from the corner of the box.
The vistors lose one of their frontmen to injury soon after and he’s replaced by Jay Murray, the ex-Orient forward who had a brief spell at GGL a couple of years back.
Naturally, this requires a sacrifice to the footballing gods. And Murray scoring against a former club will do nicely thank you very much.
28 minutes played, we fail to close down on the left flank and a waist height ball in is of course swept home by a rather less closely marked than we’d like Murray.
There’s a shocker. Never saw that one coming…
The lads get their arses in gear and attempt to level things up before the break. New man Scarborough has a couple of opportunites when the Redbridge defence fails to clear a free-kick. It comes out to the left and Eddies cross back in drops to ‘Scooby’. His first shot is blocked and despite the rebound dropping to him, another Essex body gets in the way and the chance is gone.
But with a few minutes remaining, Sutton finally make a breakthrough.
‘Dave’ is upended on the right flank, giving Peter Fear the chance to swing the free-kick into the box. He picks out the towering figure of Vansittart, who guides a header across goal and beyond the dive of the ‘keeper.
And now we’re feeling a little better on the wander round to the bar at the whistle.
The second half starts brightly with Watkins forcing a save from the ‘keeper with a little flick at the near post following a ball in from the left.
But, we’re never really convinced that we’re in charge of proceedings and so it proves just before the hour. Again, another attack breaks down, Redbridge break down our left. With a big overlap, the ball is played across the box. Scarborough tries to cover, but dives in and the striker sidesteps him, slipping the ball past Wilson.
Feel free to insert your own choice of expletive here.
Our hopes are once again raised though just a couple of minutes later when Vansittart flicks on for Watkins. The young striker skips one challenge on his run to the edge of the box and holds off another just long enough to slot past the advancing ‘keeper and once again level the scores.
The goal seems to finally give us the push we need to take the game and we have the better of the play. Although the visitors are always looking dangerous on the break.
Watkins fails to double his tally on 64 minutes, flashing a header just wide from a Matt Gray corner out on the right. And shortly after, again showing good strength to get down the right, to the byeline and cutting in, only to have his ball across blocked by a defender, really through luck more than judgement.
Our lively forward is again causing discomfort a few minutes later with another good run. His pass finds Joff on the edge of the box. He’s upended rather clumsily and amazingly, no foul is given. Despite this, he manages to somehow regain his feet, retain the ball and curl and effort just a little too high of the mark.
Having had our little spell of pressure, we naturally concede a late winner, with just 3 minutes left.
Once more, we back off a quick attack and Murray wriggles to the byeline on the right, his low ball across being bundled home at the back post to a deafening silence.
Naturally, with so little time remaining, we fail to make an impression on the now massed Redbridge defence and yet another really really average side from Essex leaves GGL with 3 points burning a hole in their pockets.
After days like this, that walk back to the Hood takes an age. God knows what the residents of Collingwood Road must think of the several downcast figures who wander past their front doors muttering oaths about “fucking Essex”.
Speaking of which, we’re off to Grays on Tuesday!
Quick, someone catch me, I think I’m going to faint with the excitement…
MAN OF THE MATCH – Hmmmm. I’ll let the new man, Scooby Scarborough have it.
ENTERTAINMENT – 5. We’ll get a decent home game soon……….I hope.
TEAM : Wilson, Gray, Scarborough, Gonsalves, Booth, Fear, Corbett, Arkali, Akuamouah, Watkins, Vansittart. SUBS : Boosey, Iga, Olusesi, Brake, Martin
THE REFEREE’S………Oh he was shit. What else do you expect??? A glowing write up?